CNN President Jeff Zucker slammed competitor Fox News during the network's "Citizen by CNN" event on Thursday.
Zucker was being questioned by "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter, who asked why long-time anchor Shepard Smith recently left Fox News.
"I think...I will say I was not that surprised," Zucker said. "Look, I think it had become untenable for somebody there who was a truth-teller and who set out on regular basis to hold those in power accountable. That is not something that organization does."
Stelter said Fox News often points to names like Chris Wallace and Bret Baier as proof they have real journalists.
Zucker told Stelter that repeating that fact "is one of the mistakes you make in your journalism."
"Listen, are there a handful of really good journalists in that organization? Sure. Is there one or two really good anchors at that organizations? Sure, but that doesn't make it a news organization," Zucker continued.
When asked what Fox News is as an organization, Zucker said they are basically a conspiracy, state-run TV network.
"Listen, it's, I've said before, it's akin to state-run TV, I think it's morphed into conspiracy TV and it's not a place where somebody like Shep Smith could work," Zucker said, adding, "I don't think it's a journalistic organization."
Zucker said he would be open to hire Smith once his non-compete expires.
Trey Yingst, Fox News's foreign correspondent, responded to Zucker in a lengthy Twitter thread, stating, "If you don't think Fox News is a "journalistic organization," I'd encourage you to take a look at the work my colleagues have done over the past year. Holding those in power accountable, risking their lives to get the story and reporting the facts."
The bottom line is that I'm proud to report alongside these journalists each day. They put in long hours to practice the craft at the highest level. Their work speaks for itself.— Trey Yingst (@TreyYingst) October 24, 2019